“If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.” -Milton Berle
The people who are the most successful in life are the ones who create their own opportunities. Since I’m a work-from-home freelance writer who prefers beadworking to networking, I have to be ultra creative.
I’ve identified seven simple ways to find opportunities in everyday situations. Here’s what I got:
1. Wear your resume while running errands.
Last year I read an article about a woman named Kelly Kinney who printed her resume on a T-shirt. What a brilliant idea! I always notice words on shirts; I’ve even been known to ask strangers to hold still so I can get a better look (far less awkward when the wearer is a man).
You can order a similar one at ResumeShirts.com for under $20–well worth the investment if it lands you the job of your dreams!
2. Build relationships in Starbucks.
A lot of people use waiting-in-line time to play with their cell phones and stare intently at their shoes. You could make it a whole lot more productive by noticing the people around you. If they also frequent that shop, they’re likely your neighbors.
Pay attention to them—whether they seem agitated or happy, what they’re reading—and start a conversation. Nothing about your work or theirs; just open yourself up to a new person. When there’s no time left hand over your business card and say, “So nice to meet you. If I can help you in any way let me know.”
The more you introduce yourself to people, the more possibilities you’ll have for relationships. The more relationships you build, the more potential you’ll have for sharing ideas and possibilities with each other.
3. Promote yourself with every email you send.
You never know which one of your contacts may benefit from your skills—skills they may not realize you have. Maximize your email signature by including a statement of purpose (underneath your website and Twitter links, that is.)
Tina Su, of the popular blog Think Simple Now, included information about subscribing in her email signature, which is partly responsible for building an audience of 16,000+ readers.
4. Get ideas while shopping.
The best way to create an opportunity for yourself is to meet a need people have (either through a product you create or a service you provide). Listen to other shoppers when you’re out. What are they looking for? What do they ask employees to find for them?
Consumers can help inspire ideas that you can capitalize on in a number of ways; it can be as simple as posting a service offered Craigslist ad or as complex as starting a new business.
5. Help someone at the unemployment office.
I know—most people get their checks either in the mail or through direct deposit. Let’s stretch this one to include any place where unemployed people gather, like temp offices, for example.
Initiate conversations with some of the other people and ask what they did before they got laid off. Focus entirely on their job search, not your own. Ask them to email you their resume so you can forward it to friends who may need someone with matching skills.
By the law of reciprocity, these people will naturally feel inclined to support your job search, as well. Two heads are better than one, and so on.
6. Make your money multiply itself.
I wasn’t sure about this one, but according to the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, it’s not illegal to write on dollar bills—it’s only illegal to defile them in a way that makes them unfit for circulation. (The website wheresgeorge.com gives this same explanation for the popular money tracking service.)
You could write, “I can make you more of these” and then your website address. This would be most effective if your URL implies what you do—ie: MarketingExpert.com. I’m going to try this one myself; I’ll let you know how it works!
7. Drive your way to gainful employment.
Make a custom bumper sticker with a funny slogan and your website. If you want a simple way to catch people's eye, write “Cash Reward for Getting Me a Job, MikeTheSalesman.com.” Or whatever your site is.
Michael Checkoway of Atlanta, Georgia took this approach. He offered all kinds of rewards, including cash and vacations, to anyone who could help him find event management work. He even set up a website specifically for this purpose. He's since found the job of his dreams (and updated the site).
Now is the perfect time to get creative to seize the life you want. What ideas do you have to add?